Studies have shown that much of the learning that occurs during our children’s development is gained through observation and imitation. Our kids are more likely to imitate us if we spend time with them and are intentional about the example we are setting. As parents we can start instilling healthy habits in our kids by adopting healthy habits ourselves. This will give us the credibility we need to lead our children in the healthiest ways.
Your Choices Impact Your Child’s
Research shows that when parents increase their physical activity, their children increase their physical activity. And looking at a parent’s fruit and vegetable intake may be the strongest predictor of fruit and vegetable intake of their child. That means that you can be your child’s greatest influencer on their road to making healthy life choices for themselves.
Be positive about how your decisions to eat healthier and move more make you feel better. And then praise those same decisions when your children are motivated to eat better and increase their physical activity.
Talk with Your Family
Surveys have found that parents of teens find it more difficult to talk about weight with their child than talking about sex, drugs, alcohol, or smoking. Weight is a hard topic for your child to ask about and a hard topic for you to respond to in a way that is considerate to the personal issues your child may have with weight.
Weigh In: A Conversation Guide for Parents and Adult Caregivers provides various ways to talk with your kids about weight and health. The guide gives you sample scenarios, tips, and talking points so you and your child can feel comfortable with a conversation on health.
Hablar Con Sus Hijos Sobre el Peso y la Salud is the Spanish version of the Weigh In guide.
The Weigh In Discussion Toolkit gives you everything you need to hold a group discussion.
Do As I Do
As a parent or caregiver, you are the leader of your family. To have a healthy family you have to lead them in healthy ways. And you can’t lead your family to be healthier if you aren’t healthy yourself. This means you must be dedicated to including exercise and healthy eating habits in your daily life and making sure you give your children the opportunity to see you staying committed to those healthy choices. The example you set today will remain with your kids for a lifetime.
Share successes and challenges with your family. This will encourage your family when you succeed and not let them become disappointed when they face obstacles on their way to health. If you cheat on your wellness plan, admit your mistake and talk about why you think you did it. Discuss ways to avoid similar events in the future and start where you left off. All members of your family should feel comfortable sharing their experiences and together you can encourage each other to be healthier individuals.